Nov 10, 2020

Investing in the Lives of Young Women of Worth

YWOW .. Multi-Racial, Multi-Faith, Multi-Cultural
YWOW .. Multi-Racial, Multi-Faith, Multi-Cultural

Lawrence Summers, former World Bank Chief Economist, stated thatInvestment in girls education may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world’  

As COVID-19  swept the world in 2020 bringing fear and uncertainty, Epworth School, based in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa continued to educate, very few days disrupted, based on our motto:

FIDA   HUMANA   FORTIS

(Faith Compassion Courage)

These central values that have flowed through the heart of our 122-year old (faith-based but not biased) Christian school and  are the values we believe best educate and empower a young girl for life. 

YOUR GENEROSITY to our cause contributes to our growing bursary fund focused on liberating the potential in talented and deserving young South African learners.

Their sojourn at Epworth enables them to become relevant, resilient and ethical contributors to the future of our  talent-rich country on this remarkable continent.

 

SPECIFICS ~ a Summary of achievements by the Epworth Foundation at 2020, thanks to DONOR  FUNDING!                            

-      A financial partnership with Allan Gray Orbis Foundation to assist a total of 10 financially-disadvantaged learners who have now matriculated (completed Gr 12) though Epworth.

-      Full sponsorship of one school leader-achiever for her Gr 12  year, whose family suffered an unexpected tragedy and subsequently needed to withdraw her from the school. Donor funds however made possible the completion of her matriculation with commendations in sport (soccer), academics and house leadership (vice captain)

-      Part sponsorship of one  senior (Gr 11) pupil from another local schoo, who personally saved up for the Epworth admissions deposit with her own lunch money! The Epworth Foundation responded in kind with donor funds to make this inspired pupil’s dream of attending Epworth a reality.

 

‘When you teach a woman, you teach a nation’ (African proverb) :

What makes Epworth’s education so aspirational?

1. A mixed ability school that proudly meets every pupil at her point of need and has recorded a 100% matric pass rate now for over 4 decades.

2. Renowned for developing RELEVANT, RESILIENT AND ETHICAL young leaders, evidenced through its legendary alumnae force across the world

3. Holistic by nature, ALL tenets of education are offered equally: Academics, Culture, Sport and Spiritual growth.

4. Donors who support the Charmaine Schwenn YWOW/YOUNG WOMEN OF WORTH Project support and understand well the Epworth Foundation's century-old pedagogy:

-      Not to divulge individual beneficiary identities (whilst at school) lest they feel ‘different’ or ‘pressurized’. At the same time the school gently supports these learners from the wings with a distinctive individual mentorship and guidance program

-      Not to have unrealistic expectations of our young women of worth beneficiaries who are often not english first language  nor from previous schools of similar academic standard. Epworth nurtures with great compassion each and every learner in its care.

-      To stand firm against the common misconception that a school such as Epworth is ‘too privileged’ to need financial support. This is NOT the case as our bursary beneficiaries cannot depend solely on other fee-paying parents for their schooling at Epworth. DONORS ARE THE WONDERFUL PEOPLE who make it possible for our talented and deserving young girl-child leaders to receive a world-class Epworth education as their passport to possibility! 

We can never thank our DONORS enough for helping us  ‘BE THE CHANGE’ in broadening the base of access to a school of Epworth's calibre. Thank you over and over.... time and again!

'Jerusalema'  a World Anthem during COVID, from SA
'Jerusalema' a World Anthem during COVID, from SA
Embedded values let  YWOW girls engage confidently
Embedded values let YWOW girls engage confidently
.... as they step out into the world.jpg
.... as they step out into the world.jpg
YWOW graduates will lead  in caring for our PLANET
YWOW graduates will lead in caring for our PLANET
....and in caring for Animals!
....and in caring for Animals!

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Nov 5, 2020

Dirty work makes our community clean

Picking up litter on trails
Picking up litter on trails

Kwethu Children’s Village

Report for GlobalGiving Donors

November 6, 2020

We’ve coped with COVID-19 , worn our masks, kept distance in public and stayed well, all of us.  Relationships have grown, between volunteers and the group of young adults living at Teen Independent Living. With some tertiary schools opening, three of our teens were able to resume trade school, in electrical engineering and hospitality. We’ve coped with the disappointment of having school interrupted, fought  boredom, went out looking for new opportunities.  Lifting of the national lockdown started opening doors for new ways of seeing things, new opportunities. 

Community service is always a great option. Our Central Drakensberg Mountains beckon bicyclers, walkers, runners to the maze of trails that lace the foothills. COVID approved exercise in open air.  But the trails attract lots of litter from casual walkers.  Here the Teen Independent Living guys show  you the seven bags of litter they picked up on a hot sunny day, off the trails before ice cream treats. 

We find, here in rural, traditional tribal areas, where TIL is located, that litter creates a disturbing disorder in public places and that we’re way behind in effective impact. The Kwethu main campus is right on the gateway road tourists travel to reach the resorts and guest houses.  Verges along our busy Gourton intersection are consistently heavily littered, as foot traffic and taxi passengers swell in number. 

These young TIL kids are being encouraged by our volunteer mentors, to consider doing this unpopular ‘dirty work’ on behalf of the community. Doing it together, being a group of heroes. We have big plans for KCV in the near future, in recycling and cleaning up our neighbourhood. Hopefully in ways that encourage participation from the public.

 

The TIL program and services to support teen orphans and vulnerable children is poised to develop and expand in 2021. We want to add staff, complete the boys dorm , include a study room and computers for school success, and eventually build a girls dorm.  Your love and support help to make possible acquiring driver’s licenses, trips off campus like the litter pick up exercise, internet access for job searches and on line coursework.

 

           Giving Tuesday in on Dec 1,2020 .

  Looking you straight in the eye, with a big smile, we ask you to consider an extra donation that day. It will be matched by GlobalGiving. And here’s  how it will be spent.  The beautiful charm of these faces , gathered for Christmas celebration last year, will be matched again THIS year as every one of our ‘family’ that has grown up with us, comes together for a Homecoming.

The phenomenal loyalty these grown up orphans have for our staff is Love at its very best. Together, you and us, we can make this happen again this year.

 

God bless each of you, with the joy of receiving our thanks for your giving.

Holiday homecoming 2018
Holiday homecoming 2018

Attachments:
Oct 16, 2020

Strategy, Governance and Principals in Community Leadership

Inviting the Community to Action
Inviting the Community to Action

Well, COVID well and truly scuppered any choral activity this year!! The spread of the Corona virus by singing, versus loud speaking, provided an interesting study!! Without the uplifting and continued support of our faithful donors, we may have been driven to despair. Thank you for your silent but generous encouragement. Our change of focus since last report remains unchanged .... on Principal Leadership Development, Strategic Review and Governance. 

 

With sincere appreciation to the wonderful NGO, Symphonia SA, and their Partners for Possibility Programme,  the Ispethu Sothukela Legacy Project Principals  were invited to participate in  a 2-day a Community Leadership workshop at Michaelhouse on the 13 - 14 Oct 2020. The workshop was attended by other school principals, deputy principals, student governing body members, NGO representatives and business owners. Catering as always was generous and  the usual 5*****Michaelhouse facilites much enjoyed. COVID protocols were observed with aplomb.

The aim of the workshop was to foster and develop the leadership skills already in the room, and integrate a structure that allows strong community building to take place.The central theme of the workshop was to build the school as the centre of the community. This stucture proved to be a successful model to demonstrate effective  facilitation, regardless of the meeting size, scope or agenda. Transport was kindly provided by the Drakensberg Boys Choir School. Sincere appreciation to the Michaelhouse Community Partnership Trust and  the staff of Michaelhouse. Positive feedback has already been received from participants: 

Ms Thandi Skhakane Deputy Principal Celimfundo :"The workshop was an eye opener to me about other ways of convening meetings , I learnt a lot and from this I’m going to change the normal way of doing things and create possibilities in every situation. I also learnt that I should not appear as an expert but listen and don’t judge!"

 

We have started canvassing for prospective donors to support the Literacy improvement we have observed during this project. We are in discussion with suppliers of age- and language-appropriate books for  learners, simultaneously searching for sponsors of the travelling costs of a mobile library between the 6 schools in our cluster. PSI Projects has transferred  its 4x4 Nissan Double Cab and a heavy-duty trailer to the Champagne Valley in an adventurous roadtrip delivery. This included an epic breakdown experience in Harrismith, with South Africa revisited in all its splendour and kindness!! The vehicle is eventually to fulfil the dual purpose of circulating the mobile library and of transporting conductors to schools. Some of these are difficult to access during the rainy summer .... specifically Emadolobheni Primary  at the top of a steep and muddy hill. 

 

Governance matters during COVID  included routine Champagne Valley Trust Board Meetings,  held virtually, to update Trustees  and to perform banking due diligence.  We bid farewell to retiring Trustee Dr Tim Tucker and welcome Dr Eseza Nambassi and Barbara Borgman onto the Trust. Sadly, due to deteriorating health,  Bill Carter will be retiring to Johannesburg  in January 2021. We will miss this CHAMPION and longtime leader of the Isiphethu Sothukela Legacy project!   We also bid a sad farewell to current conductor and initial convenor of the Siyacula Festivals at DBCS, Bernard Kruger ...thank YOU for your lessons, generosity of spirit and wonderful celebrations of music over the years. A  community workshop convened on 17 and 18 September 2020 at Kwethu Children's Village, Loskop, completed our Draft Child Protection Policy Framework. It is  now to be finalised for introduction to the isiphethu Sothukela schools in 2021. 

THANK YOU again to all those who continue to support our work, financially and in kind. To our conductors paralysed by COVID and to any local and international visitors to this project....we look forward to welcoming you to a valley filled with health, happiness and song in the years ahead!!

Workshop Fireside Chats in Masks When Too Cold Out
Workshop Fireside Chats in Masks When Too Cold Out
Team Picture...P4P Principals Community Workshop
Team Picture...P4P Principals Community Workshop
Workshop breaks outside, observing COVID regs
Workshop breaks outside, observing COVID regs
A principal explains.....
A principal explains.....
Teamwork for Community Activities
Teamwork for Community Activities

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